The Itch.

17 Aug

The itch to travel began when V, S and I took a rucksack each and headed to Wyanad. Or was it before that? I can’t seem to remember, and when the itch occurred is besides the point. The point to be noted here is that “the itch” occurred.

So yeah, sitting amidst the mountains and mist of the Western Ghats, sipping garam chai along with pakodas, a plan was hatched. A plan to travel. I had made up my mind that Pune had to happen considering V talked so much about it and wanted us to see the place! So yeah, that gave me reason enough to “hatch the plan”.

1 week later, on a super rainy evening, S, the other V and I made an appearance at Cantonment Station to book us a few tickets. The cheapest and the best fare to Pune – Sleeper Class, Rs. 330/- per ticket. A card swipe later had 3 booked and confirmed tickets in our hands, in our super joyous hands! And the weeks passed (God knows how) till 8th August 2010 arrived. It had been a mad week; a good mad, thus waiting for the trip to begin wasn’t so much of a torture!

Come 8th Aug, VH, S and I set off to Pune! Many short eats, snacks, junk food, rasta food and train meals later, we reached Pune – exhausted for 2 specific reasons – a soiled surprise plan and the train reaching 3 hours late. Anyway, happiness happened when we reached VS’s apartment!

Pune involved a lot of street food – kachchi daabeli (a spicy mixture smeared in between pav), chocolate toast from Flavours, chocolate paan (I didn’t have the guts to give this a try), more eating at an Iranian cafe called Cafe Goodluck (bun butter and jam, platefulls of egg bhurji, chai, chutney toasts, samosas… *sigh*), pizzas, Zamu’s and of course, our share of cooking food at home (mallu chicken curry courtsey VS, soup, paneer and chicken do pyaaza and rasam courtsey me and krackjack magic pudding courtsey S)!! Pune also saw us being taken around by VS’s brother… right from to-ing and fro-ing stations to chaat streets to Doolalys, a beer brewery on the outskirts of Pune. What an amazing place, and their apple cider – *slurp*

Pune made me feel like home. I love how much I enjoyed the place! It’s much smaller than Bangalore (phew!) but is quite a city to be in. A place to just relax and chill in. I love how VS’s home became our home for that week. Right from laundering to cooking to eating to cleaning to spazzing to oh-no-ing to gossiping to annoying to sleeping to giggling to just being – it all felt so amazingly comfortable! :)

We then made a short trip to Mumbai, the city of Indian cities, or so we thought! Mumbai is a place I love getting away to sometimes. The pace, the life, the vivacity, the energy are all things that make me high when I visit Mumbai. I love the tension I feel prior to boarding a local, the high I get when the local literally takes off from the station and the way things happen in the city. I love the shopping, the traveling and the eating. However, this time, Mumbai didn’t deliver, which I’m hoping is just a phase. The cabbies reminded me a tad too much of Bangalore’s auto drivers and that was such a turn off! Being stranded in the rain isn’t a pretty scene, not in Mumbai. My favourite place to spazz which is Marine Drive was perhaps the best part yet again (and I don’t think that’ll ever change). Shopping at Beauty Palace in Crawford Market for cheap cosmetics after which a trip to Rustom’s for biscuit ice-cream made a great combination. Cafe Mondegar aka Mondys was horrible – for one the jukebox wasn’t playing, which is what Mondys is primarily about. To top it off, the food was pathetic – the fries black and hard, the pizza burnt and dry. Ugh. A whole day out ended with us heading home to Santa Cruz to a friend’s flat. 5 girls in K’s bachelor pad complete with pizza, Old Monk, short eats, good music, better conversations with his brother as K was busy with work till late at night sealed the deal in Mumbai.

Our return to Pune was overridden by exhaustion. But that didn’t deter us from shopping, eating, spazzing and of course, laughing, talking and spending time out of the house in general! The last night in Pune was our most memorable one – a long drive peppered with apt amounts of silence and loud crazy singing at other times to the music in the background.

I miss Pune. I don’t think I miss Mumbai. Perhaps it’s just a phase. I think I like Pune too much! But coming back to the point, the itch still does exist. And other plans have been hatched! :D

I hope the itch stays! :)

*photographs by the author.

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